There are many ways people have found to be effective in getting rid of dandruff, from medicated shampoos and corticosteroids to more natural home remedies like tea tree oil or baking soda.
Dandruff can be itchy and uncomfortable, not to mention embarrassing, if it’s bad enough. In some cases, it can also cause other symptoms like greasy patches on your scalp or tingling skin.
Dandruff may seem like a small problem, but it can be really irritating, especially when it’s severe. It’s also pretty common, affecting up to 42% of infants and 1-3% of adults, according to some reports.
There are a few different things that can cause dandruff, like dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis, sensitivity to hair products, and a specific type of fungus that grows on your scalp. Though there are plenty of over-the-counter products that can treat dandruff, natural remedies are often just as effective.
Here are 10 simple home remedies that can help get rid of dandruff naturally:
1. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has been used to treat acne, psoriasis, and other ailments for centuries.
More recent studies have shown that it also has powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help alleviate symptoms of dandruff (1Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
In fact, one older review found that tea tree oil is effective at fighting the specific strain of fungus that can cause both seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff (5Trusted Source).
Another study found that applying placental tissue soaked in tea tree oil to the skin was more effective than a prescription antifungal.
Researchers in an older study discovered that 126 people with dandruff used a shampoo containing either 5% tea tree oil or a placebo every day for four weeks. Results showed that after only four weeks, the participants using the tea tree oil version reported 41% less symptoms of dandruff and a reduction in greasiness and itchiness.
It’s great that there are more high-quality studies, but we need even more.
Some reports show that tea tree oil may cause irritation to those with sensitive skin. In order to avoid this, add a few drops to a carrier oil such as coconut oil before applying it directly to your skin.
2. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is well-known for its multiple health benefits, but it’s also been shown to cure dandruff in some cases.
There may be a link between dry skin, dandruff, and scalp itchiness. Sometimes when your skin is dry your body will try to compensate by producing more oil. This increase in oil production can lead to more dandruff and head itchiness.
Coconut oil may be as effective an option as mineral oil when it comes to hydration. Some research says that they’re nearly equally effective, while other research shows coconut oil may help provide a higher level of skin protection (8Trusted Source).
Coconut oil has also been shown to help eczema, a skin condition that may contribute to dandruff.
Applying coconut oil to the skin decreased symptoms of atopic dermatitis by 68% (9Trusted Source) in an older 8-week study.
3. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is a prickly succulent that’s often added to skin care products like creams, balms, or lotions. This oil has many uses and may be applied topically to help treat skin conditions like burns, psoriasis, and cold sores.
One reviewer said that aloe vera has antibacterial and antifungal properties which may also help protect against dandruff. Trusted Source (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source) reports that aloe vera may be effective against certain fungi and may help control fungal infections.
Analysis and research has found that the aloe vera plant may help relieve inflammation, which may be helpful in easing symptoms of related diseases (Source 16).
Collectively, these results are promising, and they reveal a need for additional studies.
4. Minimize stress levels
Stress is often believed to affect many aspects of health and wellness, from chronic conditions to mental health (17Trusted Source). Stress doesn’t cause dandruff, but it may cause symptoms like dryness and itching (1 Trusted Source).
Long-term stress can have a severe effect on your immune system and may make it harder for your body to fight off infections and skin conditions that contribute to dandruff. In a study of 166 people with seborrheic dermatitis, about 28% reported that stress is a trigger for their symptoms (19Trusted Source).
To reduce your stress levels, you can try stress-relieving techniques including meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or aromatherapy.
5. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has many benefits and is often used to help with dandruff. Apple cider vinegar is believed to have many amazing benefits for your hair and skin. Because of its acidity, it’s believed that it helps stimulate the shedding of dead skin cells on your scalp. It also gently balances the pH of your skin so fungal growth isn’t a problem and you can fight dandruff.
There are no scientific studies to support the claims that apple cider vinegar helps with dandruff. Many of the supposed benefits of apple cider vinegar are based on anecdotal evidence.
One small study of 22 people found that applying diluted apple cider vinegar to the skin didn’t improve eczema or skin barrier integrity. In fact, it worsened skin irritation. (Article Title)
Various research shows that apple cider vinegar, and its components, may prevent the growth of some fungi (21Source1, Source2).
If you want to give apple cider vinegar a try, add 2 tablespoons of ACV to shampoo or mix it with essential oils and spritz it onto your scalp.
The bottom line
Do you have dandruff? We’ve compiled a variety of natural remedies to help you manage your symptoms and find relief.
Every person has dandruff occasionally — and there are plenty of natural ways to combat it. First, cut down on sugar, caffeine and any other stimulants that might be causing you dry skin or scalp. You can also try applying some apple cider vinegar or an herbal rinse after shampooing. If you see signs of inflammation, such as a red scalp or itchy skin, that could be caused by an allergy most likely. If so, consider trying one of the many shampoos made for sensitive skin and scalp types.
If your dermatitis doesn’t improve after trying these remedies, consult a dermatologist to learn about other treatment options. These may provide the relief you need to live comfortably.